The Best and Worst Life Insurance Policies in Canada
Life insurance may not be on the top of anyone’s expenses list, but when it’s time to invest in your family’s future, you want to know you’re getting the best coverage at the best price. Before you hand the cash to just any broker, you need to first determine how much life insurance you need. Our online Needs Analysis Calculator can let you know how much is just enough.
It’s no secret that life insurance rates vary widely from company to company. Knowing what separates the best from the worst can save you thousands upon thousands of dollars. Many brokers only work with one or two companies. This can limit your options, and each company also has different underwriting guidelines. Company A may issue a policy standard for a male who is 6’1″ and 270 pounds and otherwise in good health, whereas Company B may issue the same policy with a 50% rating. This can dramatically impact the premium.
Insurance renewals and conversion features can also differ sharply between companies. Industrial Alliance plans are convertible to 65, whereas Empire Life’s plans are convertible to 75. This can be huge to a policyholder who develops a serious illness after 65 and wants to convert their coverage. The type of policy the insured can convert to is also very important. Some companies, like RBC Insurance, have a limited number of conversion options. But Industrial Alliance allows the insured to convert to over seven different policies.
The Guaranteed Renewal feature also differs among companies. Some companies only offer one guaranteed renewal, while others renew to 75, 80, or 85. Empire Life offers the gold standard, with guaranteed renewals to age 100. The insured should also compare the cost of the renewal. For example, both companies could offer premiums on Plan A at $60 a month, but one company’s guaranteed renewal premium could be $150 a month, and another company’s could be $260 a month. This can translate into you paying thousands of extra dollars.
The next step is finding the best plan for your situation. Our Instant Quote Page cross-references all of the Term Life insurance plans across Canada to find you the best price in a matter of seconds.
People with health issues should be extra cautious when purchasing life insurance. If you are declined, this could limit the amount and type of plan you could qualify for in the future. Each insurance company has its underwriting protocols. Some companies will treat someone with high blood pressure who’s 30 pounds overweight as at excessive risk and offer a rated policy that is, a policy that charges a surplus premium. But other companies will give the same person standard rates.
Canada Protection Plan, underwritten by Foresters Life Insurance Company, recently increased the issue limits on its No Medical Life Insurance Plans. Industrial Alliance also offers Term and Permanent Insurance without a medical exam, and Humania Assurance just introduced a $300,000 Term 10 and Term 20 policy without a medical exam. The coverage is available in Bronze, Silver, and Gold categories, depending on how the insured answers the health question. An important note: many of the hard-to-insure policies have a two-year waiting period on non-accidental deaths .
Another area to watch out for is these so-called direct sellers. These insurance companies bypass the broker and sell direct to the public. At first glance, many people like the idea of not having to meet with a high-pressure salesperson. But consider the following. Many direct sellers offer premiums that are often 20% or even more expensive than policies sold through independent brokers. Also, many of these people you speak with on the phone have quotas to meet, so you may actually experience more sales pressure. Lastly, the level of expertise and service from a call centre operator is going to be far below that of a qualified insurance broker.
Insurance brokers also have access to a wide variety of carriers and products, so you’re not pigeon-holed into one company. They can shop around and get you the best rate. And they are there to help you after the sale or help walk your family through the claims process at the time when they need guidance and support.
Below, we’re blowing the lid off those carriers who reign on top and those who probably don’t want you to know they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel.
$250,000 Coverage, 40-Year-Old, Male Non-Smoker,Term 10
*Best Plan in Canada: Foresters Life, $19.58 per month
*Worst Plan in Canada: Blue Cross Life Insurance, $33.75 per month
$250,000 Coverage, 40-Year-Old, Male Non-Smoker, Term 15
*Best Plan in Canada: SSQ Insurance, $27.23 per month
*Worst Plan in Canada: Primerica Life Insurance, $42.27 per month
$250,000 of Coverage, 40-Year-Old, Male Non-Smoker, Term 20
*Best Plan in Canada: Manulife, $33.71 per month
*Worst Plan in Canada: Primerica Life, $48.45 per month
$250,000 Coverage, 40-Year-Old, Male Non-Smoker, Universal T-100
*Best Plan in Canada: Transamerica Life, $173.75 per month
*Worst Plan in Canada: Empire Life (Trilogy Plus), $216.85 per month
$250,000 of Coverage, 40-Year-Old, Male Non-Smoker, Term-to-100 (Life Pay)
*Best Plan in Canada: Western Life, $168.13 per month
*Worst Plan in Canada: BMO Life Assurance, $242.10 per month
$250,000 Coverage, 40-Year-Old, Male Non-Smoker, Whole Life (20-Pay)
*Best Plan in Canada: Western Life $290.90, per month
*Worst Plan in Canada: Industrial Alliance, $355.95 per month
*The above rates listed were recently updated, as of November 2013. But rates frequently change, so check with a licensed broker. One interesting note is that many companies have actually exited the Permanent insurance market. Case in point: Assumption Life no longer offers its Universal Life T100 plan.
Posted by Chantal Marr.
Chantal Marr is a member of the Independent Financial Brokers of Canada.
Much of her success stems from her ability to listen to her clients’ needs.
Read Chantal’s background .
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